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Strikes and Synergy July 12, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

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South Africa is dealing with yet another strike season. This time around, it is the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA) who have led the cause, and are into the second week of the industrial action. They are asking for increases of 10-13%, while employers are offering an average of 7%.

The right to strike is one of the many rights that were part of the overall struggle against apartheid, and no one would deny any worker’s right to strike, provided it is within the confines of the law. However, as outlined by ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete, when the strike trun violent, and in some cases, even deadly, then they lose not only the point of the action, but also the sentiment of the public in supporting their right to the action.

Now one could add that the violence associated with strike can be traced back to the armed struggle and the violent uprisings that marred the 80’s in this country.

The violence, however, highlights a greater divide within the South African workplace. It is alarmingly clear that there is virtually no synergy between employer bodies and trade unions in this country. Moreover, there is precious little desire on both sides to create synergy in this most vital of partnerships. And Synergy, is exactly what we need in the current market conditions. Without it, the South African workplace will not realise the potential that lies within.

So, just how do we create that Synergy? Your comments welcome…

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